Pierre-Olivier (P.O.) Joseph’s impact is still being felt with the team he played with for 3 ½ seasons.
The Charlottetown Islanders traded their captain to the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Dec. 27. He has turned pro with the Pittsburgh Penguins after being involved in the Phil Kessel trade this summer.
The Islanders are seeing the effects of the deal on the players Joseph played with here who remain and the ones who came via the trade
“I drove to the rink with him every day and I definitely learned a lot from him,” said forward Brett Budgell. “He’s probably the most genuine guy I’ve ever met as well.
“You definitely learn a lot from (veterans like him) and you hope to bring a little bit of that back into the room when they’re gone.”
In return, Charlottetown received defencemen Xavier Bernard and William Trudeau, first- and second-round picks in 2021 and a second-round pick in 2019.
The Islanders selected forward Justin Gill with the 2019 second-round pick and sent the other second back to Drummondville at the draft for 19-year-old forward Cedric Desruisseaux.
“It’s ironic that a player who is now in pro is still impacting your team,” head coach and general manager Jim Hulton said. “But we’ve talked at length about what a special person PO is. His example of leadership, by being a good person and being positive, is evident every day.”
They may not wear the same jersey anymore but they will be brothers for life. pic.twitter.com/phEVKj54kJ— IslandersHKY (@IslandersHKY) February 9, 2019
And having two first-round picks in 2021 gave the franchise the opportunity to trade a first in 2020 and a second in 2022 to Chicoutimi for 16-year-old defenceman Oscar Plandowski.
“Without those moves last year, there’s no way this one would ever happen,” Hulton said.
“If we do this deal without having the two firsts . . . we would have left ourselves threadbare at the draft table again,” he added. “We contemplated long and hard, even at the price we paid, but we just felt (Plandowski) was worth it.”
Goalie Matthew Welsh and Joseph were drafted the same year and played 3 ½ seasons together. Welsh attended the Buffalo Sabres rookie camp and played against Joseph in a rookie tournament.
All love between brothers ❤ pic.twitter.com/geURIbbobN— IslandersHKY (@IslandersHKY) September 10, 2019
“He had a really good game,” Welsh said, noting his former teammate tested him early in the contest.
“He took a point shot through traffic and it somehow got through. It was actually a really good chance, but I ended up getting a shoulder on it and covering it up. I just remember him looking at me and smiling, and we just had a good laugh.”
Welsh said he is happy Joseph is playing pro this season, noting he deserves everything he has earned.
MORE ON THE ISLANDERS:
- Lasting impact: P.O. Joseph’s influence still being felt by Charlottetown Islanders
- Islanders conclude pre-season with loss to Wildcats
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